Juve enter crucial week in attempt to salvage season

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MILAN: Juventus have only domestic honours to fight for after being knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage for the second season in a row and they must move on quickly from their European exit to have any chance of salvaging their campaign.

The fallout from Juventus’s away-goals defeat to Porto on Tuesday has been fierce.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to turn his back in the wall on the free kick that decided the match was labelled “unforgivable” by former Juve coach Fabio Capello, while ex-striker Alessandro Del Piero demanded “change” at the club.

The jury is still out on rookie coach Andrea Pirlo, with Juve also 10 points behind leaders Inter Milan in the Serie A title race ahead of Sunday’s trip to Cagliari.

They do have a game in hand on Inter, which is against Napoli next Wednesday, and nothing other than two victories in those matches will do following Tuesday’s disappointing showing against 10-man Porto.

“There is great sadness for our European elimination,” Juve’s Juan Cuadrado told Juventus TV.

“But we now have to think about what awaits us in Serie A where there are still many changes that could still take place.

“We must have the desire and try to put pressure on those in front of us, there is nothing we can do about Porto now.”

Inter travel to strugglers Torino who have been hit by a COVID-19 outbreak in the squad in recent weeks, as Antonio Conte’s side continue to reap the rewards of having no European football to act as a distraction.

Juve need Inter to start dropping some points, but with a near fully fit squad, the league leaders are not letting up as they look to make it eight league wins in a row.

Second-placed AC Milan host inconsistent Napoli in the weekend’s final game on Sunday, with Stefano Pioli’s side looking to win back-to-back league games for the first time since early February. – Reuters





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